AN INFLUX of very sick patients coming into Stafford Hospital is piling pressure on A&E staff, increasing waiting times and reducing the number of available beds.
Dr Paul Woodmansey, medical director at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust urged members of the public to consider alternative options before attending the A&E department.
“‘I would ask local people please to continue to use alternatives such as their GP, NHS111 or their pharmacist to assist them with non emergency or minor illnesses rather than coming to A&E in Stafford when they don’t really need to,” he said
“This will help our staff focus on those very sick people who really need our emergency services.”
Dr Woodmansey said, although the numbers coming into A&E were not exceptionally high, what the department had seen over the past few weeks were many more, very sick patients who needed to be assessed and stabilised in A&E before being admitted to hospital.
“This is putting extra pressure not only on our A&E staff and making waiting times longer, but also affecting the availability of beds on our wards as these patients often need to remain in hospital longer.”
Dr Woodmansey added: “I would like to thank local people for their patience and ask for their continued cooperation over the coming weeks.”
The news follows the announcement three weeks ago by Mid Staffs chief executive Maggie Oldham of plans to pause elective surgery in January and close Cannock's Littleton ward temporarily in order to deal with a staffing crisis, worsened by prolonged uncertainty over the trust's future.